This slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili recipe is the perfect solution for busy weeknights.
This vegetarian chili has a ton of flavor, it’s super healthy, and only takes about 10 minutes to prep. Since it’s made in a slow cooker, you can have this healthy meal ready when you get home from work or school.
I don’t know what I would do without my slow cooker.
It’s been one crazy busy season and the only thing that keeps me from eating takeout every night is coming home to an already made meal waiting for me!
When the weather starts to cool down and we all start craving hearty and comforting dishes, I always look for a new chili recipe. This time around, I decided to try out a Slow Cooker Lentil And Pumpkin Chili. It’s been on my list of slow cooker recipes to try for a while now, so it was finally time!
This slow cooker chili is the perfect meal for those long fall nights. The lentils give it a meaty flavor and pumpkin really thickens things up and gives this cozy stew a subtle sweetness without being overwhelming. It’s great for dinner or lunch and gives you the energy you need to get through those last few days before Halloween (or Thanksgiving/Christmas!).
In addition to a simple, no fuss dinner this slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili is great for football season – and we all know how hard it is to find healthy tailgating recipes, right?
I love this chili tucked inside a baked potato and topped with a little cheese or sour cream (accidental bonus: it even looks like a football served this way) but it’s also great on top of a hot dog or as the base for some epic sheet pan nachos.
Ingredient Tips for Lentil and Pumpkin Chili
Make sure you use 100% pure canned pumpkin for this recipe — not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened and has all sorts of spices in it. If you can’t find it in the baking aisle, look by the dog food. I know that sounds insane, but apparently, that’s where our local Whole Foods keeps it when it isn’t pumpkin pie season. I never would have found it if I didn’t ask!
Lentils are high in protein and iron; pumpkins are rich in vitamin A which boosts your immune system; both provide an excellent source of fiber. Salt can inhibit the cooking process of lentils, so wait until just before serving to add it.
For those who love to cook healthy dinners but don’t always have time for it, this will become a staple recipe!
I first shared this slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili recipe in October 2012! A few people mentioned to me that it was too spicy, so I retested it and made a few changes that improve the chili’s overall flavor.
First I doubled the traditional chili powder and cut back on the chipotle powder, which is much spicier. I also made the chipotle powder optional, although I do love the spicy, smokey flavor it adds. If you choose to leave it out, I recommend having some Chipotle Tabasco on hand so everyone can customize their bowl.
I also swapped the water for vegetable broth and increased the amount. This adds more flavor and results in a vegetarian chili that isn’t as thick as my original recipe was.
- 1 can 15.9 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can 15.9 ounce pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can 15.9 ounce fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 can 15.9 ounce pumpkin puree
- 2. ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup brown lentils dry
- 1 onion minced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients except salt in the slow cooker. Stir well.
- Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours. Stir in the salt. Adjust seasoning to taste.